Archive for July 17, 2021

President Biden Says Facebook Is “Killing People” Because Of Vaccine Misinformation On Their Platform

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 17, 2021 by itnerd

The United States has a big problem with COVID. Cases are surging again and vaccinations are slowing at around 48% having been fully vaccinated, and 56% having received one dose. And President Joe Biden is understandably freaked out about this. And he lays the blame for this at the feet of Facebook:

“They’re killing people,” Biden said on the lawn of the White House. “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated.”

Facebook to nobody’s surprise, rejected this:

A Facebook spokesman pushed back against Biden’s accusations, noting the company directed more than 2 billion people to reliable information about COVID-19 and vaccines. Facebook has an online hub for COVID-19 information as part of an effort to steer people toward authoritative sources. More than 3.3 million Americans have also used Facebook’s vaccine finder tool, he said.

“We will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. “The facts show that Facebook is helping save lives. Period.”

But the White House pushed back on that:

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there are about a dozen people creating 65% of the vaccine misinformation on social media platforms. That stat appears to come from a May report published by the Center for Countering Digital Hate

Psaki also specifically called out Facebook on Thursday, saying the administration is flagging problematic posts to the social media giant. 

“There are about 12 people who are producing 65% of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms, all of them remain active on Facebook, despite some even being banned on other platforms that Facebook owns,” Psaki said.

Here’s what I would say. A quick browse of Twitter and Instagram shows that those platforms have vaccine misinformation on them as well. And it wasn’t hard to find. So I would say that all social media platforms need to crack down on this sort of misinformation because the planet is in the worst public health crisis ever. While President Biden does have a point that misinformation kills, to single out Facebook seems narrow minded to me. I would like to see the Biden administration work with social media companies to address this, and only call out those that don’t play ball if they deserve it.

If You’re Using Ransomware To Attack Americans, There’s A $10 Million Bounty On Your Head

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 17, 2021 by itnerd

It seems that the US is getting very serious about taking out ransomware gangs. This is proved by a $10 million bounty that President Biden has put on the heads of those in those gangs:

The State Department will offer rewards up to $10 million for information leading to the identification of anyone engaged in foreign state-sanctioned malicious cyber activity, including ransomware attacks, against critical U.S. infrastructure. A task force set up by the White House will coordinate efforts to stem the ransomware scourge.

But there’s more that is being done:

The Biden administration is also out with a website, stopransomware.gov, that offers the public resources for countering the threat and building more resilience into networks, a senior administration official told reporters.

In another move Thursday, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network will work with banks, technology companies and others on better anti-money-laundering efforts for cryptocurrency and more rapid tracing of ransomware proceeds, which are paid in virtual currency.

These are all good moves. But more needs to be done as this is a multi-faceted problem. Let’s hope that the Biden administration takes actions to make US companies more responsible for defending themselves against attacks. Because simply spending money won’t be enough to solve this problem.

#Fail: Another Windows Print Spooler Exploit Has Been Discovered

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 17, 2021 by itnerd

Microsoft has revealed yet another vulnerability connected to its Windows Print Spooler service. This just after fixing “PrintNightmare“. Maybe. Either way, it’s not a good look for Microsoft. This one is listed as CVE-2021-34481, and can be exploited to elevate privilege to system level via file operations. That makes it really dangerous.

Microsoft is working on yet another fix for this latest print spooler exploit. But Microsoft really needs to spend some time to figure out what else is out there in terms of vulnerabilities are in the print spooler. Because you can bet the bad guys are looking for anything that they can take advantage of to pwn you.